Bellator 292: Linton Vassell Gets Revenge on Moldavsky, Earns Number One Contender Status

Linton Vassell and Valentin Moldavsky, Bellator 292
Linton Vassell and Valentin Moldavsky, Bellator 292 ceremonial weigh-in Credit: Bellator MMA

Two of Bellator’s heavyweight best ran it back at Bellator 292, as Valentin Moldavsky and Linton Vassell met for the second time.

The pairing matched up the number one and number two fighters in the weight class, with a shot at heavyweight champ Ryan Bader more than likely on the line.

Their original meeting in 2019 marked Vassell’s return to the division, fighting at heavyweight for the first time since prior to his Bellator run. Four years later, and the Brit had clearly found his footing in the division, having won four straight to start the night.

Former interim champ Moldavsky had come up short in an attempt to unify the titles with Bader last year, and was looking to work his way back to another shot. Vassell also wanted another crack at “Darth” Bader, though their first meeting had come at light heavyweight.

Like their 2019 meeting, Friday’s rematch opened with some grappling, and Modavsky seemed to have the upper hand for a time. But when they got back to the feet, a Vassell right hand dropped the Russian, and “The Swarm” lived up to his nickname — swarming Moldavsky, moving to mount, and landing blow after blow.

The punches gave way to elbows, and Moldavsky’s mouth guard was dangling off the side of his face. Unable to defend himself after a pair of punishing blows, he was saved by the ref — and Vassell had his revenge!

Following the win, Vassell was announced as the new number one contender in the heavyweight division. With Ryan Bader defending his title last month against Fedor Emelianenko, it’s likely the pair get matched up some time this summer.

Official Result: Linton Vassell def. Valentin Moldavsky by knockout (right hand to ground n’ pound), Round 1, 3:03